We are seeing Dotted Bee-flies around in Worcestershire this spring, with several records from the Wyre Forest area, and wonder if this is undergoing a range expansion. To distinguish this species from the more frequently recorded Dark-edged Bee-fly Bombylius major, wait until the fly has settled and look carefully for dots on the wings. The black hairs at the end of the abdomen are conspicuous even in flight. I have found this fly less easy to approach for photography than the obliging Dark-edged Bee-fly.
Dotted Bee-fly Bombylius discolor, Bliss Gate, 6 April 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall
Dark-edged Bee-fly Bombylius major, Dick Brook, 7 April 2010 ©Rosemary Winnall
These galls are commonly found on Bracken in the summer and autumn. They are caused by the larvae of a Cecidomyiid gall midge which cause these black, shiny, and rolled swellings to occur on the fronds. The mature larvae leave the galls to pupate in the soil, and there are two generations a year.
Little Black Pudding galls, Dasineura pteridis, Wimperhill, 6 September 2016 ©Rosemary Winnall
This large cluster of eggs was found on a Salix leaf near a wet flush in Longdon Wood, possibly laid by one of the large Tabanus horseflies?
Eggs of a Tabanus horsefly? London, 3 August 2016 ©Rosemary Winnall
The adult flies in the family Chironomidae (the non-biting midges), look a little like mosquitoes, and their larvae are aquatic or semi-aquatic. Some of these are bright red and commonly called bloodworms due to the presence of haemoglobin in their circulatory fluid so that they can carry oxygen which enables then to live in polluted water in almost anaerobic conditions. Some build tubes underwater from a mixture of mud and saliva, and these can be seen in Wyre during the summer, especially where the puddles are drying out. A few of these tubes placed in an aquarium have provided views of the bloodworms inside the tubes, and repairing those that were damaged.
Chironomid bloodworm larvae tubes, Wyre Forest, 18 June 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall
Chironomid bloodworm larvae tubes, Wyre Forest. 18 June 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall
Chironomid bloodworm larvae repairing damaged tubes, from Wyre Forest 18 June 2015
This attractive Tephritid picture-wing fly is always associated with Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris. The larvae bore into the stems and feed within them. There are not many records from this area. A few adults were found on Mugwort along the banks of the River Severn north of Bewdley.
Oxyna parietina, from near River Severn 3 June 2015
This species of Hoverfly ( seen at the moment along the Severn), has the distinctive long snout of all the Rhingia species. Larvae are associated with cow dung. Adult males feed on nectar, while adult females feed on protein rich pollen
This large and attractive hoverfly is now seen annually in the Wyre Forest as well as gardens nearby, since extending its range from SE England in recent years. The larvae have been found in the nests of the hornet and social wasps.
Volucella inanis, Bliss Gate, 22 August 2014
This large and impressive cranefly was seen ovipositing on a rotting wood pile in Wyre. The female spent some time searching for the right place to lay, and was observed inserting her abdomen deep inside a crack in the wood as seen here. A male was also spotted nearby.
Tanyptera atrata female ovipositing in dead wood, 18th May 2014